Digitally Lit #272 – 12/12/2020

Welcome back. This is the last issue of the newsletter for 2020. I’ll continue to blog and work behind the scenes. But…I’ll see you back in the new year.

This week I worked on the following:

  • Taming the Digital Dragon – Don’t slay the digital dragon. Hug the digital dragon.
  • Information Technology Addiction – When we think about our relationship with technology, we need to step out of the waterfall recognize our own consciousness. We need to see the chaos and nature of these digital spaces and try not to be consumed by them.
  • Well-Being in a Digital World – I’m supposed to be an expert in digital spaces…I’m still figuring things out.
  • Sharpen Your Saw – Have a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

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Tristan Harris – Downgrade

“The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology.” – Edward O. Wilson


When it Comes to Facebook, the Need for Action Has Been Obvious for a Long Time

Facebook should be broken up, FTC and 48 states allege in pair of lawsuits.

Kara Swisher on the need for government to take back power from Big Tech.

The Big Tech companies that have sprouted up since the Microsoft case have been treated by government as if they were the most delicate of flowers, in need of more nurturing than the most finicky of ferns. There have been laughable fines, while one merger after another was allowed to sail on by.

Because Facebook has been buying up tech over the last decade, breaking it up will be very complicated.

Read more here from the NY Times Editorial Board.

With guns drawn, police raid home and seize computers of COVID-19 data whistleblower

Eight months ago, Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force praised Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard as an example of “the kind of knowledge and power we need to put into the hands of the American people.” That dashboard was built by Rebekah Jones.

But in May, Jones was fired by the Florida Department of Health for reportedly refusing to manipulate that data to justify reopening the state early — and now, Florida state police have raided her home and seized the equipment she was using to maintain a new, independent COVID-19 tracker of her own.

Jones posted a series of tweets about the incident, including a video of police entering — with guns drawn.

Jones thinks Florida is trying to intimidate individuals trying to use digital tools for whistleblowing.

Tackling misinformation: What researchers could do with social media data

Misinformation researchers’ holiday wishlist.

In this multi-authored piece, 40+ mis- and disinformation researchers discuss what valuable research they could conduct, if only platforms would make their data (and code) more available.

As scientists, our findings are only as good as the dataset at our disposal … it is urgent that we have access to real-world data where misinformation is wreaking the most havoc.

Tone Is Hard to Grasp Online. Can Tone Indicators Help?

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We all struggle to communicate on the internet. Now, young people are leading a sincere effort to clear things up. Tone indicators are paralinguistic signifiers used at the ends of statements to help readers fill in the blanks.

Looking to add more tone indicators to your online content? I am. Here’s a great resource to add to your repertoire. They’re also looking to translate this into multiple langauges…so this is a great opportunity to make the Internet a better place.

What Is Deadnaming, and How to Avoid It

According to the style guide of the Trans Journalists Association (TJA), deadnaming is a trans person’s given or former name that they no longer use, also often referred to as a “given name” or “legal name.” While deadname is usually a noun, it’s also used as a verb to refer to the act of using the wrong name for a trans person.

How to be supportive/respectful when talking to or about a trans person:

  • Call someone by their name. If you don’t know their appropriate name…ask.
  • Have a conversation (when appropriate) about their name and/or pronouns.
  • If you mess up, correct yourself and move on.
  • Practice saying their name and/or pronouns on your own time.


Convert Any Online Article Into a Podcast With

Welcome to, a still-in-development service that promises to automatically create “a personalized podcast feed for you to listen to” from any articles you’d otherwise put on your to-read list for later.

In creates an audio recording of a boring ol’ computerized text-to-speech voice reading whatever articles you send the site’s way.

I’ll start recommending this to students that would rather create an audio feed of readings from my courses.



We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.

E.O. Wilson

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